Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun, Bizarre and Disturbing Links

I read these stories a little while ago, but thought for the joy of all who read this blog I'd pass them on. Try not to break a rib laughing, I'd fell awful.

First, are you brushing up on your Theoretical Zeno Linguistics. You may need to. The Roman Catholic Church has been preparing, at least theologically, to meet our little green brothers and sisters in Christ. Read more...

Second, if you've worried about how you'll reach out to your non Christian friends once you've been raptured, don't worry, these enterprising dispensational entrepreneurs have a way for you to continue ministering even after you've been transported (all for a buck, to be sure). Read more...

Finally, do you worry that your existence has overly taxed our precious environment. Have you lived to long and been to great a burden. Find out by taking the test. I realized after taking it that I should have died when I was six. Oh well. Take the test...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two Resources and Future Blogging Plans

I have recently purchased two study Bibles. Honestly, I need two new study Bibles like I need a hole in the head, but they both looked so good.

The first I don't have in hand yet and it won't ship till the fall sometime, but from the looks of it, the ESV Study Bible will leave other study Bibles in it's dust. The publishers have released several samples from the Study Bible and I am exceedingly impressed.

The second study Bible is the Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Christian Standard version). I can't say much about the translation as I haven't read much of it yet, but the list of people who contributed articles includes: Ken Boa, Lee Strobel, Dr. James Kennedy, Phillip Johnson, Douglas Geivett, Christopher Wright, John Frame, Daniel Block, Walter Kaiser, Norman Geisler, JP Moreland, Douglas Groothuis, William Dembski, Bruce Ware, Ravi Zacharias, Nigel Cameron, Al Mohler, Walter Bradley, Paul Feinberg, Gary Habermas, Darrell Bock, Thomas Schreiner, John Warwick Montgomery, William Lane Craig, among many more. This is a very diverse group, which will obviously make some articles better than other. In addition, they are approaching apologetics from different standpoints theologically. For example, the article on theodicy relies (lightly) on a "free will" type argument, and many contributors would eschew that argument. This looks like an incredible resource for those active in evangelism on campus (and others). Check it out.

Lastly, I'll be posting some short book reviews over the next few months. I'm taking an independent study in Apologetics, focusing on three areas: Christian evangelism in a postmodern context, the nature of religious knowledge, the new atheism. I have a lot of reading to do, and to aid in the processing of the info, I'll write up reviews and pass them on. Maybe you'll find them helpful also. First one coming next week, hopefully, will be on David Wells book Above All Earthly Pow'rs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

12 Sins we Blame on Others

I read this short post this morning and thought I'd pass it on, though you may have already seen it on the DesiringGod blog (written by Ben Reaoch):

It started in the Garden. Adam said to God,

The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12)

The first man, caught in the first sin, turns to blame his wife. And he extends the blame to God as well! He implies that he would have remained innocent if God hadn’t put Eve in the garden with him.

The blame-shifting in the Garden continues today. Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself.

We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples.

1) Anger

I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

2) Impatience

I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

3) Lust

I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

4) Anxiety

I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

5) Spiritual Apathy

My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

6) Insubordination

If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

7) A Critical Spirit

It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced.

8) Bitterness

If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

9) Gluttony

My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

10) Gossip

It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know.

11) Self-Pity

I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

12) Selfishness

I would be more generous if we had more money.

Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish. It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences. And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

Consider James 1:13-15, which leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This will end the blame game, and it will send us pleading for Christ’s mercy and grace.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Missio Dei Wordle

This is a wordle I made using a paper I wrote on the Missio Dei. Cool.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

New Testament Theology

I just saw this - I. Howard Marshall's New Testament Theology online for free! I need to stop buying books, there are so many on the web you can read for free.

Here's some other great online reads:
- Pilgrims Progress, by John Bunyan
- Holiness, by JC Ryle
- Confessions, St. Augustine
- Lectures on Calvinism, by Abraham Kuyper
- Desiring God, by John Piper

Monday, June 02, 2008

the emboldening effect of suffering for Jesus

Last night we looked at a somewhat puzzling passage in Philippians, puzzling if you look at from a worldly perspective. Paul speaks of his suffering and imprisonment emboldening other Christians to 'speak the word without fear' (Phil 1:14). That passage made me think of this story from church history. I first heard the story in a song from back early in my childhood (my dad sang it in church every once and a while). You can listen to the song here for free. It's a little 'Jesus People'ish, and the website isn't much to look at (ok, it's a lot to look at), but I like the song if only because it reminds me of my dad as my pastor.

Here's a less glamorized version of the story:

Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire in A.D. 320. However, Licinius, who controlled the Eastern half of the empire, broke allegiance with the West and continued to suppress Christianity.

When Licinius demanded that every soldier under his command sacrifice to the Roman gods, the forty Christian men of the “Thundering Legion” refused. Their general, Lysias, had them whipped, torn with hooks, and then imprisoned in chains. When they still refused to bow down and give up their worship of God, he ordered them stripped of their clothing and left in the middle of a frozen lake until they relented.

A warm bath was poured for any who would give up their convictions. The men prayed together that their number would not be broken. However, as it grew dark, one could not bear the cold any longer and ran to the warm bath.

One of the guards who had watched the forty brave soldiers sing to Christ became angry that one would give in to Lysias’s orders. His anger turned to conviction, and then his conviction turned to faith. He tore off his clothes and ran out on the icy lake, fulfilling their promise to be “forty brave soldiers for Christ!”

The forty died together that day. The one who gave up his faith for a warm bath also died.